April 29th, 2013 (F1plus/B. Creed).- In an interview with Sky Sports Force India’s deputy team principal Bob Fernley suggested Paul di Resta would have been world champion by now if he had been driving a Red Bull. But should one good performance in 2013 suggest a driver is capable of being a championship winning driver?
Fernley’s comments come just a week after the Bahrain Grand Prix where Di Resta finished in fourth place equalling his best ever F1 performance. Whilst his race was impressive and he was unlucky to miss out on a podium is doesn’t necessarily make him world champion material.
Admittedly in his comments Fernley did say he thought 50 per cent of the field could win a world championship if given a championship winning car. But it is unlikely many of that 50 per cent capable will ever win a championship as they will never get a chance in a competitive car.
Your ability to win a championship should not be based on what results you have achieved in other teams or in previous years or even in other formulas. The only true determiner of whether you could win a championship is if you actually score enough points to beat the other 22 drivers in the field.
It is all too easy to say Di Resta and a whole host of other drivers could win a championship or even would win a championship given the chance to race in a Red Bull. But you cannot suggest this based purely on one or two good results.
Di Resta has twice been beaten by his teammates- in 2011 he was beaten by Adrian Sutil and in 2012 by Nico Hulkbenberg. It is worth noting both of his teammates were behind Di Resta in the championship standings and only went on to beat him in the second half of the season. To be a championship winning driver you have to be able to keep ahead of every other driver or be the driver outscoring your competitors in the second half of the season.
2013 is make or break for Di Resta- to be beaten by Sutil again would most likely end any hope of him gaining a top seat. Di Resta will need to beat his teammate and continue to race and score points consistently to even be considered by a top team let alone get the chance to race for a championship.
One good result does not make you a champion so it is unfair to suggest- even if it has been suggested by a team boss- that he will be a world champion. Some may suggest if people truly believed he could be world champion he would be sitting in a Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes or Ferrari right now- but he is not and there is still a long way to go for this to become reality.
Lots of drivers could be a world champion but merely suggesting it won’t make it happen. A few more consistent performances like in Bahrain and people may start believing a world championship in the future is possible for Di Resta.
However winning a championship is not just about beating your teammate or wining races and scoring podiums. You have to beat the other drivers around you who are all just as capable of winning the championship whilst coping with the psychological issues of leading or challenging for a championship.
So could Paul di Resta be a world champion? Yes – but then so too could the majority of the 22 drivers on the grid if they had the right car.